Saturday, 23 January 2016

Hens and Eggs



The days are getting longer.  Slowly but surely we have more daylight hours and the first ones to notice this and to react to the change are always the chickens and suddenly slowly but surely the egg numbers start to creep up.


Jack starts crowing a little earlier, the girls are eager to leave the confines of the henhouse even in the half light of the early morning.  They root and scratch in the wet earth eager to get the early worms and bugs that are around before the day starts to lighten up too much.


The longer daylight hours instantly means their body clocks alter and they start producing eggs again.  Last week I was pleased to find the first of the blue eggs appearing in the next boxes.  All through the Winter we have been getting a steady three eggs each day from the newest Welsh girls, but the hens that moved with us from Southern England, for the second year running, stopped laying as soon as the days shortened, the Skylines that lay the blue eggs included.

It's amazing the difference this 250 mile shift has made to their body clocks, I would never have thought of it before the move.  In a couple of months we will invest in four more local birds to keep our numbers up and make sure that we have a continued supply of eggs, for us, for family and for friends.

  But for now we are very happy that egg numbers are up to around six a day, which means the chickens are completely self financing as this means we earn enough to cover all their feed and bedding costs and still have free eggs for ourselves.

Sue xx

22 comments:

  1. Thanks for the information on where to find lacto free products in T*sco. I'd found the lacto free milk easily and son is drinking that all the time now, but I hadn't been able to find the other products. However, last night I finally made it into the big T*sco and bought the lacto free cheese which is really lovely.

    Interesting about the hens changing for moving further north. Better not move them up to the north of Scotland!! I save up all my empty egg boxes for a friend and she gives me some of her lovely hens' eggs. They're so delicious and yellow. Have a good weekend x

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  2. Great eggs there, three of them do for my fried egg sandwiches. 1 and a half in each. Greedy boy.

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  3. How interesting Sue that your girls from the South stopped laying for Winter. We bought ten new hens on point of lay in early December and all ten have laid almost every day since. A friend sells them for us at her gate in the village. But we have noticed that our hens are staying out later in the evening, not coming into their hut until it is really dark, but scratching away in the field until the last minute.

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  4. We found selling eggs was always the best and most reliable income. When we had 160 hens and sold out the front on the stand, people would come from miles specially for our eggs. We found that the later in the year we had POL then the more likely they were to lay right through the winter.

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  5. I so envy you your chickens, I wish we could keep some. There is nothing better than a fresh egg as opposed to store bought ones.

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  6. I never thought about the weather or the seasons affecting a hen's output but hey, I relate. When it's cold I don't want to do anything. Guess the chickens are of like mind.

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    1. Commercial birds are kept laying throughout the year by having lights on in their sheds. But it puts a huge strain on their systems as it goes against what would happen naturally.

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  7. My ex-batts lay all winter no change and we are in South West Scotland maybe they are just grateful.........Jessica

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    1. Ours did too when we kept them in the area we got them from, it's only since we moved that egg production has stopped in Winter.

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  8. Birds in their first year lay all through the winter (though usually at a reduced rate.) After that, they stop laying after the moult until the days start lengthening about now. Chicken farmers get round this by buying in (or rearing) new POLs every year.

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    1. This is not what we have found at all. Our first birds (7 years ago) that were two years old when we got them, rescue free rangers, laid all year round every year. But since we moved here we have had two Winters of no eggs. Exactly the same happens with our neighbours birds. Only the new Welsh born birds have laid through the winter.

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  9. Isn't nature wonderful...the idea that the sunlight makes a difference in when the hens lay eggs. Who knew?

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  10. There is nothing better than country eggs, free is wonderful.

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  11. Reaping the rewards! you have worked so hard and now when I visit your blog the evidence that it is all worthwhile is plain to see - I can't think of anything better than eggs from my own hens - I have a little bit of green envy! I do hope you can increase the numbers a bit and maybe start to make a little profit for yourself :D

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  12. How great that the hens pay for themselves, good to see a positive sign of lengthening days too! xx

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  13. Thank you for this post, Sue; I never realised that hens were affected so much by the amount of daylight. I guess the same goes for ducks as I can only get my duck eggs in the summer months. You have educated me today!

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    1. It's Mother Nature's way of ensuring that eggs are only laid by birds so that when they hatch the chicks will have a good chance of survival in more reasonable weather conditions. Geese and ducks have an even shorter eggs laying period than hens. Although our Pekin Bantams only lay for about four months each year as well.

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  14. I've finally caught up on your blog from the very start to when I started following (around Feb/ March 2013, so almost 3 years ago) I'd like to blame you for the state of my house these past few days - housework and paperwork has basically been left untouched whilst I've read about your trials, tribulations and triumphs. What stuck me most is a - the obvious love you and LH have for each other, b - the love you have for your families, c - how much you have grown as a blogger in the past just-over-7 years, d- your animals have a fab life when with you :)
    Your blog has made me smile, made me laugh out loud and even brought a tear to my eye.
    Please carry on just as you are :)

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    1. Clearly I meant Struck me most! - I really should read it back before pressing publish! :)

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    2. What a lovely comment, thank you. And well done on your reading marathon ..... I apologise for the state of your house ;-)

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